Monthly Archives

September 2023

Skin Care and Aging

By Health & Wellness

Your skin changes with age. It becomes thinner, loses fat, and no longer looks as plump and smooth as it once did. Your veins and bones can be seen more easily. Scratches, cuts, or bumps can take longer to heal. Years of suntanning or being out in the sunlight for a long time may lead to wrinkles, dryness, age spots, and even cancer. But there are things you can do to protect your skin and to make it feel and look better.

Dry skin and itching

Many older people suffer from dry spots on their skin, often on their lower legs, elbows, and lower arms. Dry skin patches feel rough and scaly. There are many possible reasons for dry skin, such as:Older woman with healthy aging skin

  • Not drinking enough liquids
  • Spending too much time in the sun or suntanning
  • Being in very dry air
  • Smoking
  • Feeling stress
  • Losing sweat and oil glands, which is common with age

Dry skin also can be caused by health problems, such as diabetes or kidney disease. Using too much soap, antiperspirant, or perfume and taking hot baths can make dry skin worse.

Some medicines can make skin itchy. Because older people have thinner skin, scratching can cause bleeding that may lead to infection. Talk to your doctor if your skin is very dry and itchy.

Here are some ways to help dry, itchy skin:

  • Use moisturizers, like lotions, creams, or ointments, every day.
  • Take fewer baths or showers and use milder soap. Warm water is less drying than hot water. Don’t add bath oil to your water. It can make the tub too slippery.
  • Try using a humidifier, an appliance that adds moisture to a room.

To learn about other skin care issues that occur with aging, and how to protect your skin, from the National Institute on Aging, CLICK HERE.

When Lying is a Sign of a Health Problem

By Health & Wellness

Memory is a funny thing. We all get details wrong from time to time, misremember or simply have gaps in recall. You may remember eating in a nice Italian restaurant before seeing My Fair Lady but really you ate at that restaurant before seeing Chicago. This kind of memory confusion is normal. But less commonly, because of underlying neurological issues, people will generate false memories with no intent to deceive.

The medical term for this is confabulation. Because the person believes what they’re saying, the term “honest lying” is also used to describe this phenomenon.

Two types of confabulation

Confabulation can be provoked, in response to being asked questions or for details a person can’t quite recall correctly, or spontaneous, when the misremembering is just that — unprompted. This phenomenon is different from delusions, or false beliefs.

The latter, spontaneous confabulation, is rarer, and may point to an underlying medical condition such as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome — a neurological disorder that’s caused by a lack of vitamin B1 (thiamine), most frequently from chronic and severe alcohol use. It also can be caused by a range of other conditions, from Alzheimer’s dementia and traumatic brain injury to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Even in cases where the underlying condition is already known, it can be concerning when a loved one suddenly seems be making up stories about the past.

It’s very distressing when you see someone that you love isn’t remembering things or seeing things the way that you do,” says Susan Maixner, M.D., codirector of the geriatric psychiatry program and geriatric psychiatry fellowship director at the University of Michigan. This isn’t just about missing a few details here or there when recalling a shared experience. With confabulation, a person fabricates memories — for example, to fill in holes in what they recall — and believes their version of events completely, Maixner explains.

“They have no awareness that these things didn’t happen, and they’re not trying to lie or deceive anyone,” she emphasizes. Still, the resulting confusion can leave caregivers at a loss.

To learn more about confabulation, and how to respond to ‘honest lying’ from a friend or loved one, from AARP, CLICK HERE.